GlaxoSmithKline on Thursday said that lab analysis of Sotrovimab, the antibody-based COVID-19 therapy it is developing with US partner Vir, has shown the drug is effective against the new Omicron variant.
In a statement, the British drugmaker said that lab tests and a study on hamsters have demonstrated the sotrovimab antibody cocktail to work against viruses that were bio-engineered to carry a number of hallmark mutations of the Omicron variant.
The tests are ongoing to confirm the results against all of the Omicron mutations with an update expected by year-end, it added.
Separately, Britain’s drug regulator on Thursday approved sotrovimab, also known under the brand name Xevudy, for people with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of developing severe disease.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) recommended use of Xevudy as soon as possible and within five days of the onset of symptoms.
Sotrovimab is an investigational SARS-CoV-2 neutralising monoclonal antibody. The antibody binds to an epitope on SARS-CoV-2 shared with SARS-CoV-1 (the virus that causes SARS), indicating that the epitope is highly conserved, which may make it more difficult for resistance to develop. Sotrovimab, which incorporates Xencor’s Xtend technology, has also been designed to achieve high concentration in the lungs to ensure optimal penetration into airway tissues affected by SARS-CoV-2 and to have an extended half-life.
Updated in vitro data, published in bioRxiv, demonstrate that sotrovimab retains activity against all current tested variants of concern and interest of the SARS-CoV-2 virus as defined by WHO, plus others, including but not limited to Delta (B.1.617.2), Delta Plus (AY.1 or AY.2), Mu (B.1.621) and key mutations of Omicron (B.1.1.529).